Whanganui Collegiate’s Harry Godfrey and Adam Lennox outstanding in NZ Barbarians Under 18’s match.
By Jared Smith
The second half of the NZ Barbarians Under 18 game in Hamilton turned into a Whanganui Collegiate showcase on Friday morning.
Collegiate’s first-five and halfback combination of Harry Godfrey and Adam Lennox gave star turns as the only two players from a Heartland union out of the 50 schoolboys on show at the St Paul’s Collegiate school grounds.
With their Alan Whetton XV narrowly leading the Andy Haden XV 15-13 at halftime, both Godfrey and Lennox came on for the second 35 minutes and took control of the game with superb tactical kicking, enterprising passes and attacking nous, leading to a 57-20 blowout by fulltime.
Playing with the wind and behind a forward pack growing in confidence, Godfrey and Lennox directed the side around the park, with the first-five putting up consecutive pinpoint cross kicks for player-of-the-day winger Blake Makiri to score the third of his eventual four-try haul.
Lennox covered Godfrey’s sole mistake with a great chase and try-saving tackle after an intercept, although following a couple of penalties on defence inside the 10m the Haden XV eventually scored for 36-20.
But they got no closer as Lennox looked to play up tempo with both an early blindside scrum dash and later a quick-tap penalty burst, which would have led to a try if the pass receiver had caught the offload.
Lennox also saved a desperate Haden XV chip kick inside their own 30m to immediately put the ball back into the attacking corner, which eventually led to a Godfrey try when he chased through after second-five Riley Higgins’ grubber kick.
Godfrey then nailed his fifth straight successful conversion after it bounced off both an upright and the crossbar – the Collegiate skipper’s previous attempts required no good luck, even from difficult angles.
After a long Godfrey pass led to another Whetton XV breakout from inside their half, Lennox distributed expertly with short balls amongst his forwards as lock Jadin Kingi scored, with Godfrey slotting his sixth conversion for a 17-point haul.
The Sky Sport commentators were unstinting in their praise for both of the young Whanganui playmakers throughout the second half.
The two sides were made up of players from 29 schools and 12 unions, having spent the week in camp together.
Although because of Covid-19 there will be no games held, a 2020 New Zealand Schools side is expected to be named.
Both Godfrey and Lennox would deserve strong consideration to follow in the footsteps of their former Collegiate team mate Ben Strang, who played in the 2019 squad at hooker.
The Alan Whetton XV was also managed by former Steelform Wanganui manager Chris Back.